The other day we had to separate the steers to take some to the butcher. I love the process of separating the cows, this reason being less so, but it’s still exciting to me because you never know what’s going to happen. Who will throw a fit and break down a fence or gate? Who’s just going to do what you say and make life easier? You never know with cows.
This time the steers just decided to cooperate. It boggled my mind – these same steers broke down the fence last summer and before I could blink were half a mile away in the neighbor’s alfalfa field – and here they were just paying attention to us. Last summer when they broke that fence it was so bad we had to build an entirely new one. It took almost two hours to get them back, minus the one that decided he could make it on his own until he couldn’t. Our neighbors found him after he got tired of hanging around their cows.
In this round-up they just calmly walked into the trailer without a fight. I didn’t even get to wave my flag and tell them to get on with it. But I did get to watch, so that’s fine. Sometimes I don’t want to exercise anyhow.
Since the steers were obeying us, my husband took the time to pick up an old empty bag of ‘cow cookies’ (range cubes) that had blown in the corral at some point, and handed it over the fence to me. I crinkled it up and just held on to it since we were mostly done.
I hear a huff-huffing sound to my right. I look over and there is a cow booking it towards me at full speed. I am a bit wary of them on the loose anymore because of my experience with Bully Bull so I was immediately on the defensive. I couldn’t tell which cow she was, but I knew it was one of the older pregnant ladies, with her huge belly swaying side-to-side as she lumbered towards me. I could see her eyeballing me as she ran. I took a quick second to put a tree between the two of us. She kept looking around the tree at me, switching sides every few seconds, staring at me with those big brown eyes. It felt like a game of hide and seek, or tag, with the kids – whoever can get around the tree faster wins.
As I backed up towards the gate, careful not to let her out of my sight, I realized it was Gigi, the tamest cow of the bunch. But I still couldn’t figure out why she was chasing me down like an angry bull. I slipped out the side gate with her gaining on me. She kept stretching her head out and licking her lips. It occurred to me that I was holding an empty bag of cow cookies and she knew, from across the pasture and behind a barn, what that sound meant. She loves her cookies! I ran to the garage and grabbed the bag of treats to share as more cows from the herd pressed against the fence. They recently came home from the summer pasture and it’s been a while since they had their beloved cookies. They were pretty happy to have them.
I felt so silly when I figured it out, but you never know with cows.